If you live in Ohio, there are a few pests you don’t have to worry about, like giant cockroaches, scorpions, and cobras. Whew!
But one pest you do have to worry about? Termites.
The Cincinnati Enquirer has reported that our city is 14th-most termite-infested in the nation. (We’re sure that’s not an award any city wants to receive!)
What this means for you—a homeowner—is that you need to be vigilant to protect your home from termites. It’s important to be aware of the problem and ready to solve it in the event that your home gets infested.
Today, we’re going to talk about what termites are common in the area, how to spot them, and how to protect your home. Keep reading to find out everything you need to know.
Termites of Ohio
There are thousands of different species of termites (more than 3,000, in fact). You may have heard of subterranean, drywood, and Formosan termites before. However, the most common termite in Ohio is the eastern subterranean termite. So far, drywood and Formosan termites have not been established in the state.
How to Spot Termites
Most pests are pretty good at hiding—subterranean termites especially, since they live underground. This means you’re unlikely to see termites themselves (with one exception, coming up). Instead, you’ll need to look for the signs of termite activity. Here are a few to watch out for:
#1 Mud tubes
Subterranean termites do not like the open air—which begs the question, “How do they get to the wood inside your home?” The answer is through mud tubes. These are actually tunnels, made of soil and other materials, that are built by the termites as they go about looking for food sources. These tunnels protect the termites from dry air and predators.
You might see these tubes along the outside of your home’s foundation and along wooden beams in your basement, for example. If you see mud tubes in your home, this is a good sign that your home has termites.
#2 Soft, spongy or hollow wood
Termites often leave the surface of the wood undamaged, which means it’s not always obvious that your home has termite damage.
However, you can check for damage by tapping on the wood or probing it gently with a screwdriver. We recommend checking any wooden areas that are near the soil or foundation of your home. If the wood sounds hollow or is soft or spongy, your home may have termites.
#3 Swarms of winged termites
Termites generally stay underground and out of sight, with one exception: during mating season. In the spring (aka, now), the reproducing caste of termites leave the colony to mate. These termites are winged termites (not to be confused with winged ants). They swarm for a short time, then their wings drop off.
This spring, if you see lots of winged termites or see wings scattered around your home (especially near doors and windowsills), there’s a good chance your home has termites.
How to Protect Your Home from Termites
The best protection against termites is in making your home as inhospitable as possible. Termites are not a welcome guest!
Since termites love wood, that means removing the wood around your home that comes in contact with the soil. For example:
- Don’t use mulch too close to the sides of your home.
- Prune back bushes and trees so that the branches don’t make contact with your house.
- Replace wooden posts, trellises, steps, etc. with their non-wooden equivalent (or use pressure-treated lumber).
- Remove old stumps and branches from your yard.
- Don’t stack firewood close to your house.
It’s a good idea to make sure that your home has adequate drainage and that no water is pooling. (Termites also love moisture.) Also, fill in the cracks in your foundation where termites can enter.
Finally, if you live in a termite-prone area, you might want to consider a preventative soil barrier treatment to keep termites out. Since termites are so common in Cincinnati, this can be an excellent investment in the long-term health of your home.
If you’ve seen a possible sign of termites, or want to be “better safe than sorry,” don’t hesitate to call a pest control professional.
Contact Scherzinger Pest Control, a trusted pest control company in the Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky areas, including Dayton, OH, and now Columbus, OH. We’ve been pioneers, engineering new standards for ways of eliminating and controlling bugs and pests. Contact us by phone at 1-877-748-9888 or through our website, Facebook, or Twitter.